Posted: 12.10.21 at 17:09 by Tommy Joyce
A butcher in Balham is trying to change the way that people think about beef to benefit the environment.
Chadwicks Family Butchers, located at 109 Balham High Road, are committed to regenerative farming.
This style of farming, according to owner Gary Chadwick, is a solution that can prevent farming from causing climate change.
Chadwicks call their meats 'draw-down meats', meaning that they draw more carbon to the land than they produce, therefore offering a negative carbon product.
All of the meat they source is from regenerative farms - such as Somerleyton in Norfolk - and now Gary is on a mission to spread the word to try and help save farming and the planet.
He told Nub News: "I'm sick to death about hearing how cows are bad for the planet. What is bad is how we farm. We only work with farmers that do regenerative farming.
"People need to understand that beef isn't bad for the planet - it's the way it's farmed. The sooner we move back to more natural farming you will see less desertification around the world.
"The ones [cows] born in sheds and die in sheds are not good.
"In the early twentieth century we separated cattle from land - and these farms we use are moving away from monocrops.
"They use multi-species crops, allowing animals to roam freely.
"They don't manage where they roam, meaning they become a natural part of the eco-system and almost become feral rather than livestock.
"They are allowed to live a more natural life.
"The animals on these farms are allowed to be feral. They will eat what they want. They don't get fed much - only in winter when there is scarce food."
To encourage more people to understand regenerative farming, Gary has urged people to watch the documentary film Kiss the Ground, which is available on Netflix.
Gary also discussed how the soils are causing weeds to grow rather than flowers, meaning animals such as bees are unable to live amongst them. He claims that this cheap option for farming is what is causing a lot of issues, and if people got together and decided to only buy better-treated beef, then some of the big players in farming would have to change their ways.
"Weeds only survive in poor soils and they will dominate rather than live flowers. These regenerative farms have natural borders, no longer plough and steer clear from synthetic nitrates," Gary added.
"If you look how it's farmed in America, they plough everything. We have to move away from ploughing, move away from synthetic nitrates and go back to natural farming, using animals and farm together.
"Let's pay a decent price and stop buying cheap supermarket beef.
"I would benefit, of course, but how much? I'm not going to take over the world; the local community, the local farms benefit - everyone wins including the planet.
"If people change their habits, big businesses will have to change theirs.
"People can make a difference by demanding the beef they buy is from regenerative farms. It will force the big boys [supermarkets] to change their ways."
It's not only the impact on the environment which Gary says is better about the meat, it's the whole package. Because the animals haven't been penned up all of their lives and have been able to eat a variety of different foods, it tastes better and is better for you.
He said: "The nutrients are higher, the lamb is full of Omega-3 and amino acids, the chicken is good for the body and muscle management, the beef is loaded with B12 and it's great for brain development and can even help combat Alzheimer's.
"We've only started promoting what we're doing. I've been trying to promote the health benefits for some time and now people are becoming aware.
"It's a completely different product from what you would buy in a supermarket that's bread in a shed all of its life."
Chadwicks Butchers are open from 9am until 5.30pm every day apart from Sundays. Pop in to speak to Gary about his meat.